"It seems what young student journalists would be 'learning' from this experience is how to take a free trip and meals from one of the company's larger corporations," wrote University of North Carolina business journalism professor Chris Roush. He had just received an email from one of General Motors' PR people, asking for help in promoting GM's "First College Journalists Event," in Las Vegas on September 9 and 10.
Technological advances in a refurbished White House Press Room open the door (or wall, actually) to daily presidential video news releases, says Professor Robert Thompson of Syracuse University. "The equivalent of press releases could go out without interruption or analysis," Thompson said of the new "video wall" that likely will be added to the press room when it reopens next year.
Kate Corcoran, an account executive at the New York-based PR firm Articulate Communications, told PR Week that one of the benefits of audio news releases that run to a 60-second script is control. "This allows the message to be delivered in the exact way the company chooses," she said.
Television stations have maintained a studied silence about our report on the use of video news releases, but the print media has fewer qualms about discussing it. Saturday's Indianapolis Star carried an op-ed piece by Jeffrey McCall, a professor of communication at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. McCall described the use of VNRs as a "sneaky strategy" by "some wayward television news operations" that blurs the line "between reality and fantasy."
Be afraid, be very afraid! If television stations are required to abide by existing regulations and label the corporate and government propaganda they routinely pass off as "news," the First Amendment will be shredded, the freedom of the press repealed, and TV stations will collapse overnight!